I saw this comment in the AMA thread with Meghan Murphy.
r/IAmA _meghanmurphy1y I am Meghan Murphy, journalist, feminist and founder of Feminist Current. Ask me anything. Journalist
Age of Entry. Women can virtually always remember at what exact age, what moment of life, they were drawn into a life of prostitution. Among the most important facts established by research is the startlingly young age, at which girls are firstdeceived or forced into prostitution, or driven to it, by homelessness and desperation. This is usually in adolescence, often around the age of 14, 15, or 16.(1) Nothing more clearly refutes the “happy hooker” stereotype than this tragic fact of such a very early age of entering prostitution.
Reference for above: (1). Results differ from one sample to another, and reported statistics are not always comparable. Nonetheless, the basic finding – of a very early age of entry into prostitution – is generally consistent. Nadon et.al.(1998) reported that 89% of the prostituted women they studied had begun before the age of 16. Silbert & Pines (1980, 1982) reported that of 200 women being prostituted in San Francisco, 68% had begun at age 16 or younger. Some of these girls had been 9, 10, 11, or 12 years old. Three studies each reached the same conclusion: an average entry-age of 14: Boyer et al. (1993); Weisberg (1984); Gray (1973). A U.S. government study put the average age of entering prostitution at 12-13 (Spangenberg (2001); http.www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/prostitution.html)
Researchers in Seattle (James ,1980, n=136) and in Norway (Høigard & Finstad,1992) each calculated a mean age of entry of 15; James states that 36% of these girls had been 14, or younger. Bagley & Young (1987) found that 51% of prostituted Canadian women they studied had begun at age 15, or younger. A government study of 229 prostituted youth In Canada (1984) determined that they all had entered prostitution between the ages of 8 and 19. Most had been15 to 16, and many had begun at 13 or14.
Childhood Sexual Victimization. Another key fact uncovered by researchers is that 60% to 70% of the women being used in prostitution had previously been victims of sexual abuse or incest in childhood, while still living at home.(2) The magnitude of this relationship astonished those who first discovered it. Sexual abuse was often the direct cause of becoming a run-away, which in turn had led quickly to entrapment in prostitution.
References for above: (2). Many studies document a strong association between childhood sexual abuse and prostitution, usually beginning in adolescence (Abramovitch, 2005). Ninety percent of the prostituted teenagers studied by Newton-Ruddy & Handelsman (1986) had been sexually abused by care-givers, or neighbors. Some 70% of the prostituted women studied by Silbert and Pines (1982, 1983) said that childhood sexual abuse had played a direct role in their entry to being used in prostitution; 96% of them had been run-aways.
Bagley (1987) reported that 73% of the prostituted women studied had been sexually abused as children. Widom and Kuhns (1996) calculated that girls who are sexually abused are 28 times more likely to later be used in prostitution than are other girls. In a study of children being prostituted in California, most said they had been coerced into prostitution by pimps posing as boyfriends, by friends, classmates, and by men who were strangers to them (Carr, 2009). Girls being prostituted in New York City told researchers they feared and hated the johns, and 87% said they wanted to escape prostitution (Curtis et.al., 2008). Many additional studies verify the startling 60%-70% magnitude of early sexual abuse of women now being used in prostitution: Murphy, 1993; Belton, 1992; Simons & Whitbeck, 1991; Weisberg, 1984; Papery & Deisher, 1983; Farley et.al.,1998; James, 1980; James & Meyerding, 1977. Abuse by older male family members – usually fathers, stepfathers, and foster-fathers – is the most common.
Control by Pimps. Overall percentages are not available, but many careful studies in various locations have determined that 80% to 90% of the girls and women being used in prostitution are notindependent free agents, but are controlled by pimps. (3) Throughout the world, the pimp-sector is basically in daily functional control of prostitution.
References for above: (3). The Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre found that 86% of women rescued from Phnom Penh brothels by police had been tricked or sold into prostitution, and did not know they were going to be prostituted, when they left home (Brown, 2000, 66, 89).
The European Union provides data on the extent of pimp-control in a number of European countries (Details in Scelles Foundation, 2012). In Spain, more than 90% of women in prostitution were found to be victims of trafficking by pimps (p.268). In Poland, 90% of prostitution along roads was said to be controlled by organized criminal groups (p.233). In Bulgaria, RiskMonitor estimates that more than 95% of those in prostitution have pimps linked to organized crime (64).
In Germany, a policy analyst estimated that 80%-95% of women in prostitution there have pimps (Barry,1979, p.130).
Percent who Want to Escape From Prostitution. In interviews conducted with 785 prostituted women, in nine different countries, 89% said that they would like to escape prostitution immediately (Farley et.al., 2003).
Reference: Farley, M, et al. (2003) Prostitution and trafficking in nine countries. In Farley, M. (Ed.) Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress. The Haworth Press Inc.
Suicides, and Femicides: In one study, 65% of all prostituted women had been beaten and physically abused by johns (Silbert & Pines,1981). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in survivors is massive and pervasive; an entire book is devoted to documenting this (Farley,2003). Murders are commonplace. In one year here in New York City, two hundred women being used in prostitution were reported murdered (Rosen, 1981). Such kinds of murders of women can be termed femicides (Russell & Harmes, 2001; Russell & Radford, 1992) . Seventy-five percent of the “call girls” in one study had attempted suicide at least once. Public hospitals have stated that about 15% of all suicide victims are women apparently being used in prostitution (Erbe,1984 ,p. 618-19).
Reference: Erbe, N. (1984). Prostitution: Victims of men’s exploitation and abuse. Law and Inequality, 2, 609.
Boys in Prostitution. Boys are also widely available in prostitution, but less is known, and caution is advisable in generalizing across categories. Homeless boys have been reported to suffer lower levels of sexual trauma than do homeless girls (Gwadz, 2007; Tyler et.al., 2001). Some evidence suggests that boys involved in prostitution may be less often controlled by a pimp than are minor girls or women. For both boys and girls used in prostitution, the buyers are alway adult males, so the situations are not identical. There is a small but growing literature on the use of boys in prostitution.(4)
Reference: Numerous, see article for full description: (4).(Bimbi, 2007, Kaye, 2003, Flowers, 2001, Van Der Poe 1992, Boyer, 1989, Coleman, 1989, Earls & David,1989).
Pornography. Another surprising finding was how deeply intertwined use in prostitution was with making pornography.(5) These two branches of the sex industry overlap indistinguishably, in many ways. Often the same men are involved, using many of the same women. Video pornography is made of girls being used in prostitution, to “prove” their consent, and for blackmail, using a threat of send the films to her parents and relatives (Schwartz et.al., 2007).
References and info: In one study 38% of women being used in prostitution said they had been used in child pornography before the age of sixteen, 10% of them before the age of thirteen (Silbert & Pines,1982). Pornography in addition harms many other women and men, indirectly, through eroticizing woman-abuse and making it “seem sexy” (Russell, 1991,1993; Brannon, 1991; Layden, 2010; Einseidel, 1991; Brannon & Frank, 1990; Brannon et al., 1996)